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Medmerry Uncovered

Medmerry Uncovered
Medmerry: copyright Gavin Holder

The Environment Agency and the RSPB will be hosting a free exhibition this summer to highlight how the flood management scheme at Medmerry is progressing and to give an insight into the important archaeology that has been found.

Everyone is invited to attend the exhibition which runs from Sunday 5 August from 10am to 4pm each day for a period of six weeks at the RSPB’s Pagham Harbour visitor centre at Selsey Road, Sidlesham in West Sussex PO20 7NE.

Visitors will find out how construction work on the largest managed realignment scheme on the English open coast has unearthed some buried treasures and rare historical finds from the last 6,000 years.

In excavating the clay soil onsite to build huge flood banks, many important archaeological finds at Medmerry, located between Bracklesham and Selsey, were discovered. These include five giant granite boulders (known as erratics) which would have been deposited during the last Ice Age. There have also been significant finds of pottery and evidence of settlements from the Bronze Age and further human evidence the Neolithic and Medieval periods.

At the exhibition the Environment Agency will also explain how when the project is complete in Spring 2013 around 300 households along this stretch of West Sussex coastline, in addition to the water treatment works and the only road in and out of Selsey, will have improved flood protection. There will be pictorial displays and video screens highlighting how the ambitious £15 million coastal management project has developed.

Andrew Gilham, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager, said: “We hope as many people as possible can join us this summer so they can get a real insight into how this vital flood management scheme is progressing and to learn more of the exciting archaeological finds on the site.

“The free exhibition tells the story of our work to protect this vulnerable stretch of West Sussex coastline. Input from the community has been invaluable in shaping the way in which the project is being delivered as well as their enthusiasm on the added environmental benefits it will bring to the area.

“It is also a unique opportunity during the summer holiday to find out about the exciting discoveries from over 6,000 years of history that were unearthed from the clay that will be used to build the flood banks for the project.”

Chris Corrigan, the RSPB's Regional Director, said, "Medmerry is such an exciting project. We all knew it was due to deliver flood defence, wildlife benefits, and much improved access for local people, but now we find that it is uncovering loads of secrets about Sussex's past too.”

For further information about the exhibition and the Medmerry flood and coastal management project follow this link to the Environment Agency website

Monthly email updates on progress with the scheme are also available from the project team at: medmerry@environment-agency.gov.uk